Gabriola’s GERTIE bus system is receiving $9,278 share from a $230,000 Community Passenger Transportation Fund.
The one-time fund is being administered by the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA). The fund is being shared amongst 13 transportation projects throughout the Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast region.
According to an ICET statement, the Community Passenger Transportation Fund was created based on the a series of engagement sessions with 96 local governments, First Nations, Indigenous organizations, community groups, transportation providers, and input from over 1,500 coastal residents that identified community-based perspectives on the challenges, gaps, and opportunities in passenger transportation within the Trust’s service region.
The insights from these engagements were made available in August 2023 through the Island Coastal Intercommunity Transportation What We Heard Report.
Applications to the fund were accepted from Oct 17, 2023, to Nov 17, 2023.
Kate Bishop, Chair, Vancouver Island Economic Alliance said, “recognizing the distinctive transportation needs of the region was paramount, the commitment to supporting community-led initiatives through the grants underscores our belief that the solutions reside within the wealth of local knowledge.”
MLA Rob Fleming, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure said the fund, “allows people to reach other communities for medical appointments, groceries, and all kinds of basic amenities. These grants are improving and expanding the transport services that help people live their lives.”
Gabriolans Steve Earle, Susan Yates, and Helen Cook sit on the GERTIE Board.
Earle said last year, GERTIE had to cut back, “on service hours in order to balance the budget, and that meant cancelling mid-day service on Mondays and Fridays.
“We plan to use some of this money to restore 6-days a week mid-day service in the busy summer months. The rest of the money will go towards vehicle maintenance to ensure that all of our buses continue to meet Transportation Board requirements.”
Cook said the funding agreement will be finalized by the end of March.
Yates echoed Earle saying, “The best thing about getting this ICET funding is that it allows us to re-instate mid-day service on Mondays and Fridays for GERTIE’s busy summer season.
“GCBF Board member Helen Cook dedicated herself to getting these funds, and the whole GERTIE crew is sure pleased with the result.”